The Valley of the Rhine is a region placidly beautiful, where the millenary tradition of the wine emanates and the goodness of the nature, one of the German regions producers of the most important tastings of the world.
Since medieval times, the cultivation of the wine in this region has been associated to the noble variety of the white Riesling grape.
In the XVIIIth century, the viticulturists in the Valley of the Rhine where the ones that for the first time recognized the art of picking up the grape in different stages; from this technique comes from the one called Prädikate (special attributes), which characterizes the wines of a superior quality.
Another variety of grape in the Valley of the Rhine is a version of the Pinot Noir called Spätburgunder. The wines of this variety are red, of strong bodied to hearty, with a bouquet similar to the flavor of the berries.
The Wine Route
It is one of the most beautiful and traditional routes in all the country. Its 85 kilometers cross the second largest wine producer region in Germany, embellished with the most beautiful views of Valleys, castles, small picturesque villages and, of course, exclusive vineyards.
The Weather in this area allows that even in the last few months of winter, when most of the Germans in the cities are avoiding the depressive landscapes, the Wine Route starts to transform with the flourishing of thousands of almond trees.
Here the weather is mild; the landscape is beautiful and the people, kind and warm.
During the summer the sun illuminates the vineyards, while the fruits of the region ripen and are ready to be enjoyed. In the autumn, the entire region is turned towards everything that is related to the wine, to the moment in which the new harvest starts to get out from the press. It is in this time when most of the wine festivals take place, since yesteryear, to commemorate the goodness of the new harvest.
The wine ritual turns into a real celebration in which the food, the art and the nature are the main stars. The wine is sold mainly by bottle and the visitors always take with themselves a very personal experience, when they meet the vineyards and to talk directly with the wine producers. The possibility to taste the wines with the viticulturist allows them to appreciate all the details of this very special product.
The Route (Deutsche Weinstrasse) starts in Bockenheim and it travels towards the south, going through the heart of the Palatinate Renan up to Schweigen, in the border France. The region is especially charming, with a mix of mountainous areas, romantic castles and ancient cities. The 70% of the country’s wine is produced here and many local festivals that revolve around this theme.
Through the Valley of the Rhine
The territory of the so called Valley of the Rhine extends throughout 65 kilometers, along which this magnificent river sculpts its way through the mountains between the cities of Koblenz and Bingen. Since 2002, the area is considered a Cultural Heritage of the Mankind by the UNESCO and it has some of the most romantic landscapes in Europe. Koblenz is the starting point for the tour because of it’s strategically location, at both sides of the Rhine, in its junction with the Moselle River. From here it is possible to go on board in a cruise to explore both Valleys.
The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress and the Stolzenfels Castle in the city of Koblenz are part of the heritage of the high Valley of the Rhine Central. Four middle height sized mountains frame the la city of the Rhine and Moselle, which is surrounded in two third parts of forests, green surfaces and water.
The region’s capital is the city of Mainz where it is possible to appreciate the gothic architecture and to go on board in the boat tours through the Rhine.
In this central region of the Valley, among the cities of Worms, Bingen, Alzey and Mainz, there are the most beautiful castles and palaces which décor the riverside.
In this tour by the river you may visit the Rock of the Loreley, inspired in the legend which made famous the poet Heinrich Heine, which tells that the Loreley -a kind of mermaid-, was a beautiful blonde that seduced the sailors of the Rhine and take them to the ruin when she sang over the rock that now a days has her name.
The city of Wiesbaden is also a historical center of the region. Although it is the capital of the state of Hesse, the proximity of this elegant city to the central area of the Valley turns it into a very comfortable option for the visitors.
Wiesbaden, as its name says so, owes its fame to its numerous thermal fountains. The central and emblematic point of the city is the building of the Kurhaus spa, with its elegant casino and built in 1907, by orders of the emperor William II.
The poetic Rüdesheim
Since the beginning of the XIXth century, Rüdesheim at the banks of Rhine has been a favorite city of many German and European poets. Its charm is still alive today since it is considered one of the most visited cities in all the country.
Some of its historic monuments are: The Adler Tower, the millenary Castle of Broemser and the mythological ruins of the Castle of Ehrenfels. The indisputable beauty of the city may be dulled by the large number of visitors that it receives day by day. A very nice way to avoid the crowds is to arrive really early and to go towards the Viewpoint of the Niederwald in the vicinity of the woods.
From the top of the Niederwald, it is possible to enjoy incredible views of the Valley of the Rhine and of the beautiful symmetry of the vineyards. You may also visit the Monument of Germania, to which you get there from Rüdesheim and Assmannshausen, through a ride through the vineyards in a cable car or chair lift.
Among the mountains covered with vineyards, where the Rhine moves forward idyllically between the rocks, the ruins of the Ehrenfels Castle are located. Rüdesheim marks also the prelude for the visit to the city of Bingen, one of the ultimate attractions of the route of the Valley of the Rhine.
The city of Eltville
Eltville is known as the City of the Wine, the champagne and the roses. It has an historic center adorned with beautiful buildings which invite to the tranquility and to some walks. Located in the heart of the Valley of the Rhine, is the oldest city in the Rheingau. It is a good option for those who want to live the experience of the Wine Route, without having to get around the crowds of tourists.
The neighbor villages of Oestrich-Winkel, Hattenheim, Kiedrich and Walluf complement the typical atmosphere of the region, that here you can experiment it in the most authentic way. Most of the vineyards are open to the public.
Only 20 minutes walking from Eltville there is one of the best choices for staying with all luxury: Schloss Reinhartshausen Kempinski, the only hotel in the area that counts with its own vineyard.
The history of this complex goes back to 1189; when it was property of the knights of Erbach until 1275. For the next four centuries, the castle belonged to the knights of Allendorf, who in 1797 gave up the property to the dynasty Langwerth von Simmern. In 1801 the old medieval construction was replaced with the castle that survives until today.
Marianne of Prussia, daughter of the emperor William I of Holland, felt so attracted by the location of the property and by its special weather conditions that in 1855 she acquired the castle.
The vision of this princess transformed the Schloss Reinhartshausen into a cultural center of the region. Parts of the castle were rebuilt and turned into a museum to house her collection of 600 works of art; many of these paintings may be appreciated today in the hotel.
Castles Eltz and Marksburg
There are more than 30 castles and palaces along the Rhine. Some of them are hidden in the heights, such as the picturesque Castle of Eltz, over the Moselle River, near of Koblenz and many others predominate in the banks of the Rhine, at both sides.
The Castle of Eltz is one of the most visited in the entire region. Victor Hugo said that this castle was “tall, horrific, strange and dark”.
Hidden in the forest, this castle is the archetype of the medieval constructions. It has belonged to the same family since a thousand years ago, unlike many other constructions of the region; it has never been toured down.
Another beautiful castle is Marksburg. The construction is obvious from the Rhine River. To enjoy the view of the Valley from this castle is something awesome that would lead you to the medieval times.
Valley of the Ahr and the region of Eifel
The mountainous area of Eifel offers an interesting and unique geological landscape. It is about a region of extinguished volcanoes over 10 thousand years ago.
In the past the powerful forces of the inner land opened pass towards the surface, drilling the terrestrial cortex la of the volcanic Eifel with a dense web of volcanic lakes, the ones called blue eyes of Eifel.
The Ahr river flows through the Eifel, from the picturesque city of Blankenheim until it joins the flow if the Rhine.
In the Valley of Ahr is possible to cover it by bicycle or to walk the 35 kilometers of the Red Wine Route in Germany. This route takes you through the heart of the Valley, touring the vineyards and the small villages.
Meno-Taunus, green jewel
The mountains of Taunus will extend 75 kilometers, from the region of Wetterau up to the Rhine, with steep falls to the Valley of the Rhine and Meno (Main River in German), with a varied and impressive landscape. The broad woods predominate in this area.
Meno and Taunus is a land surrounded by mountains, castles, palaces and spas: an exuberant green jewel.
From its heights the view reaches far than the land rich in Woods and idyllic villages, solitaire mills, rocky mountains and calmed waters up to the horizon of the metropolis of the Meno, the ultra-modern city of Frankfurt. The highest mountain, at 880 meters above the sea level, is the Große Feldberg.
The history of the region goes back to the Celtic towns. Now a day is possible to watch this part of the history of the Taunus with the Celtic rocky walls that adorn it.
This area is also the main character of one of the German legends by excellence represented with the famous Brunhildstein. And among the mountains there are several castles. In those days the knights knew where they could live well: at the top of the Taunus over the prairie of the Meno. The castles are in line, one next to the other.
An excellent option for lodging to explore and enjoy this zone is the Kempinski Hotel Falkenstein. It is located in an area of six acres in the quiet resort of Königstein Taunus, in the heart of the woods. Frankfurt and the international airport of the city (one of the largest in Europe), is located 20 minutes away by car.
The surroundings of the hotel will take you to the most pure nature, while the view of the sky scrapers of the huge city stay as witnesses at the distance. The natural and medicinal properties of the zone are it most great attractions. Even inside the resort, it is possible to appreciate the goodness of the Taunus.
The water comes from the private fountain of the hotel, which allows appreciating its flavor pure and crystal clear and even supplies the pool of the hotel. The resort also counts with its own spa, the Ascara Spa, which offers a series of beauty treatments, Ayurveda and health programs.
We invite you to discover the Wine Route, from the Valley of the Rhine, the one of the Mosela, with its small wineries and singular landscapes; the one of Loreley and its legends, besides magnificent castles. The Germany of exuberant landscapes, with its touristic routes that cross incredibly beautiful regions: Willkomenn in Deutscheland!
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Text: Kundalini Muñoz ± Photo: Mosellandtouristik GmbH, Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH, GNTB.